Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
SHOCK AND AWE OVER GAZA — Jonathan Cook reports from the West Bank on How the Media and Human Rights Groups Cover for Israel’s War Crimes; Jeffrey St. Clair on Why Israel is Losing; Nick Alexandrov on Honduras Five Years After the Coup; Joshua Frank on California’s Water Crisis; Ismael Hossein-Zadeh on Finance Capital and Inequality; Kathy Deacon on The Center for the Whole Person; Kim Nicolini on the Aesthetics of Jim Jarmusch. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the Faltering Economic Recovery; Chris Floyd on Being Trapped in a Mad World; and Kristin Kolb on Cancer Without Melodrama.
So who’s next on the Bush team’s hit parade? Besides Iraq, of course. It’s abundantly clear that the Chickenhawk-in-Chief and his corporatic cronies will be slapping hot iron all over Saddam Hussein just as soon as the poll numbers are right. The whole saucy crew have been on a sustained propaganda offensive for weeks, methodically […]

Southern Cross, The US Takes Aim at Brazil

by Chris Floyd

So who’s next on the Bush team’s hit parade? Besides Iraq, of course. It’s abundantly clear that the Chickenhawk-in-Chief and his corporatic cronies will be slapping hot iron all over Saddam Hussein just as soon as the poll numbers are right. The whole saucy crew have been on a sustained propaganda offensive for weeks, methodically preparing the public to accept the wholly un-American notion of aggressive war. Those droopy invertebrates known as Congressional Democrats are already on board, so it’s body bags for Baghdad any day now. Collateral damage, here we come!

But we all know that the Righteous Runner-Up has a broader vision for the world. A world in which no banker has to go to bed hungry–or even slightly peckish–in any of the homes he owns. A world in which no multimillionaire corporate trough-feeder–like, say, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Army, the National Security Advisor, the White House Chief of Staff, the President and Vice President of the United States, etc.–has to sacrifice even one single penny of unearned profit to clean up the land and air he has despoiled with his noxious evacuations. A world where bribery, tax evasion, capital flight, money laundering, false accounting and fraud are protected by law and rewarded by government. A world where the manufacture and use of even the deadliest weapons have been loosed from the profit-choking constraints of international treaties and sworn agreements. A world where even the poorest women–or rather, only the poorest women–are free to die in a pool of their own blood, liberated from an enervating dependence on basic health care in childbirth, all to serve the maniacal misogyny of religious extremists allied with unelected rulers. A world in which every government has the power and duty to strip away the outmoded and unproductive regulations that once protected its natural resources, its national economy, its working people, its poor and elderly, its schools and hospitals, its way of life, even the very air that it breathes and the water that it drinks from unfettered exploitation by small bands of predatory elites.

It’s a bold and far-reaching agenda, this quest to remake the world in the image of a profoundly ignorant pipsqueak frat boy and his fellow barons in the New Feudalism that is engirdling the earth. But President Pip has publicly committed the full might of the United States to this cause; he certainly won’t be content with just mopping up the Iraqi mess left behind by the feudal baron whose title he has inherited.

So who will next feel the glint of his–dare we say it?–global eye? Well, if you’re the betting type, you might want to lay some good money on Brazil, the largest jewel in the Bush family’s traditional fiefdom of Latin America. It seems those southern silly-billies have drawn the ire of the Great White Father in Washington–and his paymasters on Wall Street–by giving the presidential candidate of the (gasp!) Workers’ Party a 20-point lead in the polls.

At the moment, Luis Ignacio da Silva–or "Lula," as he is universally called–is thrashing the candidate of the ruling right-wing coalition, which has been hobbled by a series of–what else?–corruption scandals. Lula is leery of Bush’s proposed pan-American "free trade zone," which would subject the entire hemisphere to the "Washington Consensus" cult of Enron-style "deregulation," Chubias-style "privatization" and the NAFTA-style "liberation" of powerful business interests from national laws governing commerce, zoning, the environment, even the judiciary.

Instead, the Workers’ Party wants to increase public investment in the national infrastructure–such trifles as sewers, roads, education, health and small-scale agriculture–while lowering interest rates to help the country’s ailing industrial base, a move backed by many Brazilian business leaders and long-term foreign investors. The party’s "moderate and efficient" administration of the local and state governments it already controls has been praised by that Bolshevik terrorist tract, The Financial Times.

But all this is so much tinkling brass to the Bush Regime and its cream-skimming cronies. Infrastructure? Sewers? Get real. All they want are high-interest yields on sweetheart deals pimped for them by government bagmen. (That is the textbook definition of "globalization," isn’t it?) And oh yes–slavish devotion to the foreign policy dictates of His Pipness. It seems that here, too, Lula falls short: he favors "an independent foreign policy"–i.e., he might want to pay a visit to Cuba sometime, just like Jimmy Carter.

So when Lula began soaring in the polls, the White House went to work, through its proxy armies on Wall Street. Major firms (and Bush donors) like Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Merrill Lynch took time out from their various Enron entanglements and criminal investigations to sniffily downgrade Brazil’s investment rating–citing Lula’s potential victory as the reason. The move–derided as a mistake by the Financial Times and others–sent the Brazilian stock market tumbling, destroying millions of dollars in local investments.

This economic terrorism by the Bush Regime is just the opening salvo in a dirty war that will doubtless continue until the October election. The Regime may have fumbled its first attempt at a foreign coup–the ham-handed farce in Venezuela–but Brazilians should take little comfort in that. As we saw in November 2000, when these boys set their minds to it, they know how to gut a democracy.

Chris Floyd is a columnist for the Moscow Times. He can be contacted at cfloyd72@hotmail.com

ANNOTATIONS

"Bush to Formalize a Defense Policy of Hitting First," New York Times, June 17, 2002

"Hill Leaders Back Bush Order on Hussein," Washington Post, June 16, 2002

"President Broadens Anti-Hussein Order," Washington Post, June 15, 2002

"Preemptive Strikes Must Be Decisive, Powell Says," Washington Post, June 14, 2002

"Bush’s Texas: Dark Heart of the American Dream," The Observer, June 16, 2002

"The Zealots Behind Bush’s UN Family Planning Sellout," Salon.com, June 13, 2002

"Treaty Offers Pentagon New Flexibility," New York Times, June 14, 2002

"The Right and US Trade Law: Invalidating the 20th Century," The Nation, October 15, 2001

"Crony Capitalism Goes Global," The Nation, April 1, 2002

"GOP Is Moving to Slow Action on Tax Loophole," New York Times, June 18, 2002

"Rumsfeld Sold Up to $91 Million in Stock in 2001," Salon.com, June 18, 2002

"Islamic Bloc, Christian Right Team Up to Lobby UN," Washington Post, June 16, 2002

"EPA Proposes to Ease Rules on Clean Air," Washington Post, June 13, 2002

"Bush Shows True Colors by Targeting Population Fund," Newsday, March 7, 2002

"Bush’s Biggest Donors Had Links to Enron," Commondreams.org, Feb. 15,

"Trouble Brewing for Merrill Lynch," Forbes.com, April 10, 2002

"Brazilian Leftist Roils Presidential Elections," Pacific News, June 6, 2002

"Brazilian Democracy Faces Obstacles From the North," Commondreams.org, May 8, 2002

"Market Turmoil Sparked by Panic Over Lula Victory Tarnishes Central Bank," Associated Press, June 6, 2002

"Free Trade in the Americas: A Disappointing Decade," Center for International Human Rights, April 18, 2001

"Focus on US Cash in Venezuelan Coup Attempt, San Francisco Chronicle, April 25, 2002

"OPEC Chief Warned Chavez About Coup," The Guardian, May 13, 2002

"Exxon Mobil-Sponsored Terrorism?" The Nation, June 14, 2002

"Richest Cabinet in History Would Benefit from Bush Tax Cuts," The Guardian, Feb. 27, 2001

"Another Tale of Corporate Greed," Salon.com, May 7, 2002

"Women’s Rights: Why Not?" New York Times, June 18, 2002